Listening is the foundation of Integrated Care

In anticipation of The Healthcare Show on April 26th-27th, Picker shares why listening and learning to people and communities will be the deciding factor in the success of Integrated Care Systems.

It has been a swift 12 months since the government passed the Health and Care Act 2022, a landmark legislation that significantly focuses on collaboration between hospitals, GPs, social care, and others to improve services. Sitting at the crux of this legislation is the Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), responsible for joining up services to improve population health and ensure that care is designed and delivered in line with people’s needs and preferences.

While it was formally launched in 2022, the idea of integrated care is a familiar one and has been a longstanding objective. Over the last decade, Picker has worked with various policymakers, researchers, and leaders to understand integrated care and, crucially, has helped shift the perception that its value should come not from the view of services and organisations, but from the perspective of the people using the services.

Lived experience is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. We need to listen and learn from those experiences to improve the services and care provided by our NHS and communities. Many service providers have established ways of collecting individual patient and service user feedback but do not benefit from knowing how well the various services used work together to meet people’s needs.

Our work shows that ICSs will benefit from a broad approach to understanding people’s experiences of integration by using a combination of methods to measure, monitor, and make sense of their populations’ experiences, preferences, and priorities. Picker and The King’s Fund have developed the guide “Understanding Integration: how to Listen to and Learn from People and Communities” to help unite systems with communities to identify what people need, what is working, and what could be improved to provide joined-up care.

To understand the gaps and delays in care, ICSs must tap into their communities and engage with patient voices representing their services. This responsibility cannot simply lie with people in engagement roles but rather be a system-wide approach and mentality of all who work within health and social care providers. There is no single starting point for people who need access to health and care services. Hence, a culture of listening and learning at every pathway is crucial to capturing the experience and transitions of various services.

Suppose you would like to learn more about understanding and improving people’s experiences of integrated care. In that case, Picker Group CEO Chris Graham and Chair of Picker Board Angela Coulter will present at The Healthcare Show on April 27th at 12.30 pm at its dedicated Integrated Theatre. The Healthcare Show is free to all healthcare professionals, so book your place alongside the UK’s most senior healthcare leaders today and experience a timely, inspiring, and reinvigorating event that will leave you with a renewed purpose for addressing and overcoming the challenges currently facing staff and patients across all care pathways in the UK. Register here:

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